(Pocket-lint) - HTC has announced a new variant of the HTC One, this time labelled the E8. It was previously known as the HTC One (M8) Ace prior to launch, a plastic-bodied version of HTC's flagship phone.

Launching initially in China, we're expecting to see the E8 to be available globally. But should you be interested in the E8, or stick to your guns for the premium HTC One M8?

We're drilling through the details to figure out exactly what the difference is.

Polycarbonate design

The HTC One M8 is all about design. It has a metal body that makes most other phones look rather poor by comparison, with a seamless zero-gap construction.

The HTC One E8, on the other hand, switches to plastic. The polycarbonate body offers similar curves, promising to sit nicely in your hand, however you're holding it. Both offer the BoomSound speakers, so visually look similar.

The M8 measures 146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35mm and weighs 160, the E8 measures 146.42 x 70.67 x 9.85mm - very close in size, but is 145g, so a little lighter. It's not going to have the premium feel, but that will be reflected in the price.

Conventional cameras

The HTC One M8 launched the Duo Camera in a fanfare, offering a wide range of functions using the UltraPixel sensor combined with a second sensor to capture depth. It's also drawn some criticism, with many wanting a higher resolution and the likes of optical image stabilisation. 

The HTC One E8 has a regular 13-megapixel sensor on the back, losing the fancy camera functions of the M8. Whether this is purely to save on costs, or a move away from UltraPixel (as it was also missing from the HTC One mini 2) isn't clear. 

However, you'll get a normal, 13MP back-side illuminated sensor here with f/2.2 aperture. You'll likely lose Zoe Capture in the process, as well as some of the advanced features like Ufocus.

The front camera remains the same a 5-megapixels, however, well set for taking selfies. Some may well argue that the camera is better on the E8 as a result.

The hardware

There's little difference in the hardware: both have a 5-inch 1920 x 1080 display, both have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset with 2GB of RAM. Both have 16GB internal memory with microSD expansion.

Both also offer 4G LTE connections, but the E8 offers dual nano SIM support. We suspect this might change for versions that make it to Europe or North America.

It also appears that there's no IR blaster in the E8, so no TV control.

Software and features

Launching on Android 4.4 KitKat and Sense 6.0, the software experience should be very similar on both the E8 and the M8. The only real difference should be reflected in those camera apps, as mentioned above.

The HTC One E8 gets the sensors that the M8 has, so you'll get the full range of motion gestures and low power support for fitness apps. There will also be support for the Dot View case, for that complete M8 look. 


The final difference is going to be the price. At the launch of the device in China, HTC confirmed that the price would be £267 (based on current exchange rates).

The HTC One M8 currently costs £549 SIM free direct from HTC, so in losing the camera and skipping the metal body, you save yourself plenty of cash. That sounds like a bargain to us, although we doubt it will appear that cheaply in the UK. The HTC One mini 2 is £379 SIM free, and is a much lesser device. We'll be watching this space, and hoping it turns out to be a bargain when it launches outside of China.

Writing by Chris Hall.